Outliers has to admit to not being an expert in statistics. We barely made it through high school algebra, much less Adventures in Applied Regression Analysis, or whatever that class was our math whizzy college roommate took back in the day.
But even we were looking askance at a news release we got this week that told us all about a free e-book from the Institute of Subjective Well-Being titled, Happiness Formulas: How to Assess Our Subjective Well-Being? How to Live Joyfully in the 21st Century? We had no idea that measuring our collective happiness was such a burgeoning field. But frankly this just made our head hurt. Statistics is one thing, but add on New Age-y trappings?
One formula the good folks at the institute mention for measuring happiness is the AmAre Way—AmAre is an acronym and we won't even go into what it stands for. But this involves using a spreadsheet and weighted variables. And we're pretty sure happiness doesn't involve using a spreadsheet, much less weighted variables. At least if we have to use them.
The book also delves into the Facebook Happiness Index (oh, we're sure that must be reliable). According to Facebook, it's mostly been downhill in the U.S. since Christmas, happinesswise. It's cobbled together by measuring which positive or negative words folks use in their Facebook updates. Oddly enough, it always peaks around holidays.
Then there's the Gross National Happiness index pioneered by the king of Bhutan, which is gaining a foothold in the U.S. thanks to a Vermont group called Gross National Happiness USA. All you need to know about this is that the questionnaire used in Bhutan has 290 questions (not including subquestions!), delving into just about everything, including income, health and building materials in homes.
Finally, there's the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which claims to track at least 1,000 U.S. adults daily. And good news! That index “remained strong in June, with the second highest overall well-being score on record (67.3) and a Life Evaluation Index score reaching its highest level,” according to a news release. But keep in mind, it's only been around since 2008, so the Great Recession may have been setting the bar a little low.